Guide to Attracting Cardinals to Your Backyard
Cardinals are one of the favorite birds throughout much of the United States. You only need to look at the state birds to prove this. Seven states have designated the cardinal as their official bird, including Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, and West Virginia.
You will find three different types of cardinals in North America. The most well-known is probably the northern cardinal, which is spread throughout the eastern half of the United States and makes it as far west as New Mexico. When you picture a cardinal, this is what you’re likely thinking about. There is also the Pyrrhuloxia, popularly known as the “desert cardinal,” found throughout the southwestern United States and Mexico. Finally, the red-crested cardinal – with a white body, black wings, and a bright red head – can be found only in Hawaii and Puerto Rico.
If you can’t get enough of cardinals, let’s take a look at some tips for attracting these birds to your backyard!
Invest in a Heated Bird Bath
Cardinals are not migratory birds. Instead, they tend to stay in the same area throughout the year. They are a type of bird that will flock to a bird bath in order to access fresh drinking water. This is particularly useful in the winter, when many other sources of water may freeze over in northern climates. There are many heated bird baths that work great for attracting cardinals.
While bird baths can increase the likelihood that cardinals will visit your backyard throughout the year, you may become a very popular location for your local cardinals in the heart of winter. Of course, snowy days are great for spotting cardinals too as their brilliant red colors pop against the snowy backdrop.
Provide a Varied Diet
Fortunately, cardinals are not very picky eaters. They tend to eat a wide range of things. You will find that they eat seeds, fruits, and even insects. Safflower seed is a great choice for attracting cardinals to your yard. Since it typically isn’t eaten by squirrels, this can also reduce the likelihood of these furry friends trying to steal your stash. Cracked corn and suet are also known to attract these birds.
Adding some plants such as blueberry bushes or mulberry trees will appeal to these birds as they offer some of their most preferred fruits. Of course, they also enjoy eating caterpillars during the spring and summer. Plants like dill, fennel, and snapdragons can attract these insects, offering a smorgasbord for the birds.
Choose a Feeder that Cardinals Will Love
While cardinals enjoy eating a wide variety of things, they are a bit picky when it comes to how they eat. Specifically, these birds do not like to turn their bodies when they are eating. Thus, you want to be sure to choose the right type of feeder. Platform feeders are the perfect choice as they can easily accommodate cardinals while holding plenty of food. Larger hopper feeders are also a good choice.
Another good option for attracting cardinals is suet feeders that use the cage method. These are very attractive during the winter because they provide more high calorie sustenance that can be in short supply during that time. Typically, you will want to avoid tube feeders as the stick perches require cardinals to turn their bodies.
Find Balance with Feeder Location
Cardinals are birds that prefer the safety of having tree cover. Thus, they are typically attracted to feeders placed near trees. However, you want to have a bit of balance with your location and keep them far enough away to prevent squirrels from raiding them. A happy medium here will work nicely.
These birds are also foragers who will eat seed that falls beneath feeders. Thus, be sure to frequently check fallen seed to make sure it hasn’t spoiled. You will also want to keep feeders full, particularly in the afternoons as they like reliable sources.
Satisfy All Your Cardinal Supply Needs at Birdertown!
We are always happy to help birders get everything they need in one place. If you need supplies to attract your local cardinals, we will go above and beyond to make sure you’re satisfied. Of course, if you live in an area without cardinals but still love the birds, you can always satisfy your cardinal craving with some unique items like our hand crafted cardinal sculpture!